Since there doesn't seem to be an appropriate place elsewhere, thought I'd start a thread here. Anyway, I'm on vacation in Florida this week, and yesterday we went to Florida's Silver Springs. They charge $7 just to park, and about $60 for myself, wife & 3-yr-old son entrance fees. Some grumpy old lady checked through our bags to see if we were sneaking any outside food into the park, since that would hurt the park restaurants which charge $3 for a small coke. Half the exhibits were closed and of those that were open, long waits as the staff was minimal.
Anyway my son did enjoy the glass-bottom boat rides and feeding the giraffe, but other than that the park was pretty much of a rip-off for the price. What I didn't like the most was the nasty employees being snarly with the park guests - a sure way to ensure no repeat business.
Well that's it for my beef - anybody else have any rip-off travel stories to tell? Or good places to travel?
Italy, where the police watch traders hassling tourists and selling fake goods, and then arrest the tourists for buying the fake goods as they are damaging the italian economy... I wonder who is in whose pocket?
Well Silver Springs will live or die by its value and if it's as bad as you say, it won't last because word gets round. Parks always seem to charge a premium because they have a few decent rides or so. I would visit them sparingly. Beach resorts seem to be better value.
From what I understand, Silver Springs used to be quite a tourist attraction some 50 or 60 years ago, then fell on hard times and has been sold and resold just about every other year or so. They used to make a number of underwater TV series & movies there (Seahunt I think, with Jeff Bridges father Lloyd Bridges). Only reason we went was because my son was too young to appreciate Disney World, which is much more expensive.
I guess my favorite vacation spot is Southeast Asia, mainly because I met my wife there (she's Vietnamese), prices were very cheap and lots of beautiful scenery. I took a 10-day incountry tour of Vietnam, leaving/returning to Saigon with tours of Mui Nhe, Nha Trang (famous for the 4 island boat tour and for hosting the 2009 Miss Universe pageant), Da Nang, Hue, Hoi An, the emperor palaces along the Perfume River, etc - all for $500 per person. Of course that was 7 years ago so prices have most likely increased. Booked through the Sinh Cafe tour company (sinhcafe.com). Because we weren't married at the time, some hotels required me to rent two rooms .
Only trouble was that during the bus trip from Mui Nhe to Nha Trang, the highway bridge at some tiny village washed out due to flooding from some late November typhoon a day before, so we were stuck on the bus for 26 hours. No problem for me except for a sore butt from sitting too long on a hard seat, as I could go outside & find a bus wheel or tree to pee on, but for my fiancee, every bush she found usually had a complimentary audience of the local villagers offering advice on how not to wet herself or don't use that leaf to wipe yourself as you'll get hives . Said villagers thought this was a real carnival with all the buses, trucks & cars stuck in front of their homes, so inbetween poking everything they owned through the windows in an effort to sell, they loved to shout, laugh & talk loudly until 2-3 AM. But they were pretty good as well - my fiancee would shove some money through the window and tell them to bring lots of the delicious Vietnamese coffee laced with condensed milk, and they would actually do it and not just pocket the money.
Anyway, the trip was well worth it despite that one setback - in Hue we met a cyclo (pedicab) driver who peddled the two of us all over the city, including having dinner with us at a local restaurant that made Bun Xeo (sort of an egg souffle I guess). My fiancee would buy us a beer or ice cream from a sidewalk vendor and also buy the same for the cyclo driver. He wound up only accepting some 50,000 Dong (about $3) for a whole evening's worth of peddling - refused to take more since he had so much fun himself.